R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Enrique Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, announced that two defendants, Michael Borzillo and Jerome Cohen, were sentenced today by United States District Court Judge James I. Cohn and Judge Kenneth A. Marra, respectively, in connection with their participation in fraudulent business opportunity sales at a firm called AmeriP.O.S. Michael Borzillo was sentenced to ninety-seven (97) months’ imprisonment, three (3) years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $4,382,972.39 in restitution. Jerome Cohen was sentenced to thirty-seven (37) months’ imprisonment, three (3) years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $449,395.75 in restitution.
According to charging documents, Borzillo, Cohen, and other defendants engaged in the fraudulent sale of business opportunities through AmeriP.O.S., Inc. AmeriP.O.S. engaged in the sale of point-of-sale (“P.O.S.”) terminal business opportunities. For a minimum purchase price of approximately $12,000, potential purchasers were told they would receive several P.O.S. terminals, and assistance in establishing, maintaining, and operating a P.O.S. terminal business. The defendants falsely claimed that a business opportunity purchaser, known as a “distributor,” would earn substantial profits when members of the public purchased products, such as pre-paid debit cards, pre-paid phone cards, and pre-paid Internet services, from the distributor’s P.O.S. terminals. Borzillo, Cohen, and others fraudulently induced over 1,500 consumers to invest a total of approximately $20 million in AmeriP.O.S.
Michael Borzillo was an AmeriP.O.S. reference, who fraudulently represented himself to potential purchasers as a successful AmeriP.O.S. distributor. Borzillo pled guilty to six counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341, on November 9, 2005. Jerome Cohen was an AmeriP.O.S. salesman who used an alias to speak with potential purchasers to disguise the fact that he had a prior felony conviction and was banned, as a term of probation, from telemarketing. Cohen pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, on July 18, 2005.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Postal Inspection Service. These cases are being prosecuted by Richard Goldberg and Jill Furman, Trial Attorneys, United States Department of Justice, Office of Consumer Litigation, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Gurwitz.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.